IOWA CITY, Iowa — Joel Novak, a two-time University of Iowa men’s basketball letterman passed away on Sunday in Des Moines at the age of 80.
Novak was a starter on the 1961 and 1962 teams that tied for second and fourth place in the Big Ten, respectively. He was Iowa’s Big Ten Medal of Honor winner in 1962.
Novak’s service on Tuesday will be live streamed at 11 a.m.(CT): youtu.be/6-rpJDtcpBA
Novak was a native of Rock Island, Illinois. After high school, he and fellow classmate Don Nelson attended the UI on basketball scholarships. They were selected co-captains by their teammates for the 1961-62 season.
After receiving his BA from the University of Iowa in 1962, Novak was admitted to UI’s Iowa’s Law School, graduating with his Juris Doctorate degree in 1965. Following his admission to the Bar, he practiced law in Des Moines.
Novak was appointed by Governor Robert D. Ray as a 5th Judicial District Court trial judge in August, 1979. He served in this capacity until his retirement in September, 2011. Novak continued as a senior judge for six years. During that period, he was also honored by being asked to serve as the first Judge in Residence at the Drake Law School Legal Clinic. He held both positions until September, 2017.
Novak is preceded in death by his mother, Frieda “Babe” Denger and stepfather, Charles “Chub” Denger; his father, Sam Novak and stepmother, Dorothy Novak; and maternal grandparents, Lillian and Rueben Leibowitz, who along with his mother helped to raise him.
Novak is survived by his wife, Kay True Bradley Novak; children Lisa Novak (Ashley Collins), Jolie Novak (Alan Carroll), Jason Novak, and Josh Novak; grandchildren Sasha Collins and Sadie Carroll; brothers Steve Novak (Kris) and Jeff Novak; sister-in-law Ann Bradley Harrmann (Terry), brother-in-law, Sid “Brad” Bradley; his nieces and nephews; and his close cousins with whom he grew up in Rock Island.